The IAM is calling on the Government to introduce a national strategy which would include driving health checks and better information for elderly drivers and their families.
The call follows a poll of almost 1,300 people conducted for the IAM in which 42% of respondents said they are worried about an elderly relative driving, but are unlikely to do anything about it.
The poll also suggests that when people do talk to elderly relatives about their driving it does not always go down well – nearly half of respondents (47%) who said they had done so had been met with a negative reaction.
The IAM says there are now more than four million drivers aged over 70 years, and that the number will increase to 5.8 million by 2032.
To address this, the IAM is calling for a “Government action plan” for older drivers. The measures it is calling for include widespread availability of voluntary on road driving assessments, and vehicle manufacturers to give more consideration to the needs of older drivers when designing vehicles.
It is also calling for “better information and online assessment tools” for older drivers and for roads to be designed in such a way that it makes it “easier for older drivers to keep driving”.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “Talking to an elderly relative about their driving is a difficult conversation to have.
“Driving is associated with independence, so giving up the car keys can be a very stressful process. This is especially true for drivers with dementia as they often underestimate the impact of the condition on their driving skills.
“Voluntary online and on road driving assessments will provide an unbiased view and help everyone make the right decision at the right time.
“We are finding while there are some elderly drivers who should not be on the road, most get it right and as many as 15% give up too early.
“But with ever increasing numbers of elderly drivers, this is a growing mobility and road safety issue that won’t go away. The Government needs to act now.”
Click here to read the full IAM news release.